In an unexpected development, the hospital treating sick toddler Charlie Gard has applied for another hearing in the High Court – despite the fact that the case has already gone to the European Court on Human Rights.
Great Ormond Street Hospital made the application following receipt of a letter from researchers at the Bambino Gesù (Baby Jesus) children’s hospital in the Vatican urging them to think again about the possibility of treating the stricken baby. Charlie suffers from the genetic disorder mitochondrial depletion syndrome.
Doctors had been preparing to switch off Charlie’s life support but now the hospital wants judges to consider whether or not he should receive the experimental drug cited by the Vatican doctors. This could lead to a “dramatic” improvement in his condition the Italian doctors suggest. A similar claim has been made by other doctors in the United States.
A previous ruling prohibited both the parents and medical staff from taking the baby abroad for treatment so the courts would need to set this aside before the experimental therapy could be attempted.
In a statement the hospital explained:
“Two international hospitals and their researchers have communicated to us as late as the last 24 hours that they have fresh evidence about their proposed experimental treatment. And we believe, in common with Charlie’s parents, it is right to explore this evidence.”
Great Ormond Street insisted nevertheless that the views of its own doctors on the issue have not changed. They continue to believe that the proposed ‘nucleoside therapy’ will be futile.
Charlie’s mother, Connie Yates, told the media:
“We are quite happy with this outcome and we are hopeful and confident that Charlie may get his chance now.”